Off the Rails - Train Stuff

ace_chris
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Re: Off the Rails - Train Stuff

Post by ace_chris » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:04 am

Japan maglev train breaks world speed record again!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-32391020

quicksilver-wsr
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Re: Off the Rails - Train Stuff

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:14 pm

Stapp, of course, set the precedent for going properly fast on rails - but the Japanese definitely take the cake for being off the rails with this one! :D

Nigel

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rob565uk
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Re: Off the Rails - Train Stuff

Post by rob565uk » Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:28 pm

I wasn't clever enough for Grammar School so in the 1960s was lucky to go to an excellent Secondary Technical school. It was the era of the Beeching railway cuts and the line from my hometown of Southport to Preston (around 18 miles) was a casualty. I recall our Woodwork Teacher (Mr Rushton) proposing that the track be re-modelled to experiment with a single rail linear rail/maglev type system. I believe the Japanese were just starting their research and trials around that time, so that may have inspired him. He even built a scale model, with a carriage sitting on a sort of saddle straddling the single central rail. I believe he tried to energise it as a live demo but never succeeded to my knowledge. In any event, the then British Rail PR people didn't share his enthusiasm or vision and the rest, as they say, is history.

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sbt
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Re: Off the Rails - Train Stuff

Post by sbt » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:39 pm

Yet Britain had the world first commercial MagLev train - the shuttle between Birmingham International railway station and Birmingham Airport. It was based on research at BR Derby. It opened in 1984 and closed in 1995 - mainly due to obsolescence in electrical parts making it hard to find spares which made it unreliable.

The UK initially backed a system that used Hovercraft technology rather than Maglev and a 4 mile (planned to be eventually 20) long test track was built near Earith. Interest switched to Maglev and a test unit, RTV 31, was built and achieved 108 mph. It was, however cancelled in 1973 along with a number of other transport research projects.

The sole surviving transport research project was APT, which could use existing railway routes. Unfortunately APT died under that name as a result of being introduced before development was complete. However the Class 91 + Mark 4 carriage 'Intercity 225' is essentially the final design of APT without the tilt and the Class 390 'Pendolino' is basically a developed version of the same technology that does include tilt. In essence only the 'toxic brand' of 'APT' disappeared.

Just as Brunels technically superior Broad Gauge died because of issues regarding interoperability with an inferior approach that required less initial capital investment in line construction, Maglev in the UK died because of interoperability and the cost of building new lines, compounded by the densely populated nature of these islands and the nature of UK politics, one aspect of this being a reluctance to invest in multi-generational projects.

As a side issue, there are real problems with suitable applications for all very high speed rail-bourne systems. The acceleration and braking times from maximum speed are long (for a start, passengers will only tolerate certain acceleration loads), this means that the train is only really practical on routes with a strictly limited number of widely spaced stops and no possibility of having to slow for other services. This means that they are basically only suited for dedicated lines between widely separated large conurbations. It may be technically possible to go faster but in a lot of cases its not worth it. Very often the best approach is to limit top speed and concentrate on acceleration and braking, together with signalling and junction design to upgrade line capacity and sustainable speed.

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rob565uk
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Re: Off the Rails - Train Stuff

Post by rob565uk » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:34 pm

That's nearly all news to me and also most interesting - thanks

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Renegadenemo
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Re: Off the Rails - Train Stuff

Post by Renegadenemo » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:00 pm

Then there was that big maglev crash in Germany a few years back.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lathen_train_collision
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conistoncollie
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Re: Mallard - World steam speed record holder

Post by conistoncollie » Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:04 pm

[/quote]
Maybe the powers that be appreciate that Sir Nigel Gresley's greatness stems from more significant, yet less widely recognised achievements than designing a locomotive that momentarily went faster than it was designed to.
What would you have liked to have seen incorporated into the statue if the record had been set by "Union of South Africa" or "Sir Ralph Wedgwood"?[/quote]

Interesting hypothesis. If we remove all reference to Mallards, including his love for and breeding of them, from the Nigel Gresley story, and we erase Mallard's momentary peak speed achievement from the speed record books, then my preference would be Andre Chapelon. I am sure Sir Nigel wouldn't mind sharing a plinth with him, especially as Chapelon's advanced and significant work on high speed draughting was admired by Sir Nigel and was incorporated into Mallard's front end. Part of Sir Nigel's greatness was his willingness to use and learn from the work of other engineers where it produced improvements in performance, reliability and economy. Or perhaps one of the unsung LNER permanent way engineers whose significant yet less widely recognised achievements made it possible for high speed running to take place. A locomotive is after all only one part of a machine which also includes the surface (track) on which it runs, rather like the flat salt of Bonneville or the 'oily calm' surface of Coniston Water.

One wonders why the Deutsche Reichsbahn never pushed their advanced Class 05s 'momentarily faster than they were designed to go', to reclaim the steam locomotive speed record for Hitler's Germany. Or perhaps they did.

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Re: Off the Rails - Train Stuff

Post by Jordangbr » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:18 pm

Trigger's broom in steam once again. I'm sure they could've steamed Mallard for less...
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Renegadenemo
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Re: Off the Rails - Train Stuff

Post by Renegadenemo » Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:28 am

It was out and about last week painted in wartime black. Looked really smart.
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